Thursday, December 22, 2011

Xmas Marx the spot: The Marx Toy Museum of Moundsville, West Virginia











Christmas is just around the corner and that means toys. Our golden era for toys was the 1960s, so when we had the chance to visit the Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia, we felt like the kids in "A Christmas Story" looking in the window of Higbee's department store. Here's a rerun of a post we did about it back in 2009:

If you grew up in the fifties and sixties, you probably played with or watched TV commercials advertising Marx toys. They specialized in plastic figures, including Johnny West and a cadre of Wild West action characters, Big Loo, a space age robot, and the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots ("hey... you knocked my block off!"). The little northern West Virginia panhandle town of Moundsville (there really is a mound there) is the home of the Marx Toy Museum. In it you will find toys and artifacts from the 1920-70s. It's all the collection of one man and his son, Francis and Jason Turner. None of the toys have been restored; rather, they all look like they've been stashed in an attic or basement for the last half-century, waiting to be put on display in their slightly worn condition. It makes sense to have the museum here, as the nearby town of Glen Dale once hosted Marx's biggest factory. By the 1950s, Louis Marx was the world's most productive toy maker and he even made the cover of Time magazine in 1955. Unfortunately for the local people, he sold the company in 1972 and by 1980 it went out of business. I think my favorite relic on display was the "Ben Hur" action set. Any objet d'Charlton Heston is tops in my book. In fact we give high Marx (p.u., that pun is awful) to the whole place.

7 comments:

Amber Von Felts said...

I had a few of the Marx horses growing up. We would find them at yard sales and such in the 80's . I'm not sure if there were any of the cowboys with them, being a girl I was only interested in the horses! The whole collection is magnificent! I really love the Rock Em Sock Em Robots, I had those too. The Robot is my favorite toy up there though. I've never seen one of those in the real world!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Amber: Sherry had those horses, too, when she was little. I had something similar to the miniature gas station that was perfect for Matchbox cars.

wendyvee said...

I've been to Moundsville twice ... how did I miss this!!?!

Added to my "to do" list :)

George Ferreira said...

Looks like I will be taking a road trip next Spring :-)

Don Milne - Roadtrip-'62 said...

Thanks for this: I never knew it existed! My brothers and I had one of those great Ward's service stations with the elevator (until it broke, of course), and Marx's Civil War battle set. I'll have to get down to West Virginia now.

pylgrym said...
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pylgrym said...

Beautifully done! Homage at its fionest. Worth every inch of the pilgrimage!